Man sentenced for selling drugs near school

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BENNINGTON — A Manchester man has received a deferred sentence after admitting to charges that he sold marijuana near Burr and Burton Academy last year.

Matthew C. Redmond, 21, was arrested in September after police said he had sold marijuana to students, as well as adults, near the school grounds in Manchester Village.

Redmond pleaded guilty in Bennington criminal court on Monday to a single felony count of selling a regulated drug near school property, and two felony counts of selling drugs to minors.

Judge David A. Howard accepted a plea agreement that called for a five-year deferred sentence.

If Redmond successfully follows his probation conditions and avoids legal troubles, the charges will be dismissed and his record will be expunged. Redmond did not have a prior criminal history.

Police had received complaints of traffic at Redmond's West Road home when an officer on patrol Sept. 9 observed a suspected drug deal there. The driver was pulled over after they twice crossed the center line. The traffic stop turned up 2 grams of marijuana; the driver told police they bought it from Redmond, Manchester police said in a court affidavit.

"Credible information has Redmond selling copious amounts of marijuana, pills [controlled substances] and heroin to numerous Burr and Burton Academy students and young adults within the Manchester area, as well as adults," Manchester police said in the affidavit.

Police executed a search warrant on Redmond's residence on Sept. 17. They seized just over an ounce of marijuana, a scale, $864 in cash and a ledger.

Redmond, in an interview with police, "admitted to being a significant drug dealer for approximately the past year, but was adamant that he only dealt marijuana." He told police that he had been been using heroin and cocaine himself.

Redmond told police half of the people to whom he sold marijuana were BBA students, while the other half were adults, most of whom worked in local restaurants.

Redmond told police he would meet clients near the service area of the Equinox Hotel. The hotel abuts the school grounds and, according to the affidavit, the service area is 463 feet from the school's grounds. Under state statute, selling a regulated drug to a person on property abutting school property is a violation if it occurs within 500 feet of school property.

Court records show that the $5,000 bail imposed on Redmond at his Sept. 21 arraignment was suspended after he was admitted to an inpatient residential treatment program. His defense attorney, Jeffrey Rubin, made that request on Sept. 29. Deputy State's Attorney Robert Plunkett, who prosecuted the case, did not object. Judge Howard amended Redmond's conditions the same day.

Under a plea agreement, the state dismissed a felony count of marijuana possession and misdemeanor counts of marijuana sale and possession.

Ed Damon can be reached at edamon@benningtonbanner.com, at @edamon_banner on Twitter and 802-447-7567, ext. 111.


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